What’s the best way to minimize the number of guns on California’s streets? That’s the question confronting gun control supporters after this month’s ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down San Diego’s restrictions on carrying handguns in public. That case was brought by gun owners who applied for but were denied permits to carry concealed weapons.
San Diego will undoubtedly appeal the decision in the hope of saving its restrictive policy for awarding concealed carry permits. Lawmakers who support gun control might want to consider another option: Rewrite state law to allow people to carry guns openly.
For many in the gun control community, that will seem like a crazy idea. State law bans ordinary civilians from carrying openly displayed firearms. And gun control advocates don’t want to see more gun enthusiasts showing up at Starbucks or the local movie theater with guns hanging on their hips like Gary Cooper in “High Noon.”
Yet if they don’t want too many guns in public, open carry may be the answer.
To understand why, begin with the 2nd Amendment. In a landmark 2008 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court held that it protects the right of individuals to have guns for personal protection. Yet the text of the amendment guarantees not only the right to “keep” a gun, as one might in the home, but also the right to “bear,” or carry, arms.
Source: Los Angeles Times